Categories
Parent Learning

The Constant Lessons with a Little One.

Everyone knows that parents either learn a lot or just constantly wing it. So now Munchkin is now a toddling, more communicative, more hilarious, ever lovable ball of pure joy, there’s a few more lesson’s I have learnt on the journey called parenting.

1. Weaning them = changes in mealtime expectations for you.

If you are a big fan of eating your toast hot and your Weetabix crunchy, you may have to adapt how you make food for yourself. By the time I have breakfast ready for the Munchkin, then for me and my wife, Munchkin in the highchair and styling in his Bibado then there’s no chance everything is in that perfect condition or temperature. Luckily, I’m not too fussy so all is good.

A little smiley one at breakfast

2. There isn’t a word in our language for how tired you are.

Its true, you can get to places beyond tired, but it doesn’t stop you developing that little human into whatever big human they one day will be. Role playing with his kitchen, singing and dancing to the Wiggles, or in sensory exploration through bubble time, splashing fun or painting with those little hands, tiredness stops nothing.

3. Welcome to repetition, repetition, repetition…

Munchkin initiated reading time in the mornings after his milk by passing a book to me. What a lovely idea I thought. We read five books, one by one. Well, when I say read, I more mean something like:

‘That’s not my fox its tail is too….that’s not my….The End’. As he rapidly skips through the pages.

By day three on that selection of books we had chosen a favourite. And that book needed to be read over and over and over and over. Again and again and again.

4. With increasing development comes increasing hilarity.

With ever developing language come ever funnier moments. Whether it be a perfectly timed giggle or squeak or a slightly imperfect pronunciation when copying us, there are daily moments Munchkin has me in absolute stitches. And, of course, he laughs along with me.

5. You learn a new meaning for the word Love.

We all think we know what love means. I love my family and I love my wife. But every day you experience a different type of love for your little Munchkin. It’s the same squishy mushy feeling you have for your partner, but at the same time, something different. Its inexplainable but perfect.


So with every new day we learn something new which only just adds to the marvellous job of being a Daddy.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

Subscribe

Or continue reading…

Categories
Mental health Parent

Avoiding the Lockdown Lows

I recently wrote a post about staying sane with a one year old (you can read that here). I read it back and realised that while that was great for how to stay happy with all the dirty nappies and early mornings, it didn’t really focus on me, the adult.

So here five ways I have avoided the lockdown lows myself.

1. Streaming (what the internet was born for)

Disney plus came into exisitence bang on the right time, coinciding with the start of lockdown, saving us from boredom by letting us catch up on the latest releases we had missed but also reminincing with the golden oldies.

Other streaming services do exist however, so its important to mention while not dreaming about living at DisneyWorld, we’ve also been dying to save the big cats watching ‘Tiger King’, been is utter disbelief with ‘Suriving R Kelly’, and beyond furious with ‘The Trials of Gabriel Fenandez’.

2. Getting out

We have used our daily exercise hour to get some fresh air and vitamin D, whilst also giving Munchkin a change of scenery. This gives some goodness for all three of us.

3. Project house

Being furloughed has been a great kick to get all the house jobs done.

I finally got around to finish filling some holes in the house and kick started the garden ‘renovation’. Me and Natalie have no real garden experience yet we’ve (somehow managed to) put up a fence post and two panels and most recently prepared the soil by hand and laid some turf (we bought our house with a low-maintainence fully-slabbed child-unfriendly garden).

4. Had some ‘me time’

I thought ‘me time’ would come in the form of the xbox one, but then I discovered that you can play board games online. This was a revalation.

So nap times and the odd evening has become virtual board game times with my work crew, university mates and my Mum, Sister and Wife.

For this we have been using boardgamearena (Here’s the link), which for private play, requires one premium member at only £22.80 for the whole year or you can play other players worldwide for free.

5. Appreciation

I think what has really kept me chirpy is spending some time thinking about and appreciating the benefits of lockdown.

Whether that be being a key worker (woo to all of you) and feeling and seeing the value of your continued sacrifice, having reduced work hours (woo!), or working-from-home commitments (so you can do a day’s work in your PJ’s), or for me, spending time seeing the development of my Munchkin.

I hope you are all staying sane and safe in lockdown.

Thanks for reading,

Subscribe 🙂

Categories
Development and discovery Sensory

‘Water’ Way to Light Up Your Day with Sensory Play at Home

With Covid-19 lockdown in full swing, me on furlough and Natalie, a teacher working the majority at home as a key worker, Munchkin is out of nursery and at home full time.

This meant we quickly set about making a routine and including the daily key element of sensory play. Here is a few things we have done in the first weeks. All of these used every day items we already possessed.

Bubble Float, Bubble Pop

Its a known fact that every child loves bubbles, and Munchkin was no different. The look of awe and amazement as he reached for the bubbles around him was worth every second of the clean up operation which followed!

Bottle Shaker Sounds

If there is one thing Munchkin loves, its making a lot of noise. He loves drumsticks and banging everything, his drums and setting off all his musical toys at once, and even using his utensils at meal times for impromptu musical routines.

So this one was simple. Take equal sized bottles and fill with different every day items to illustrate the different sounds they make. We used lentils, stones Munchkin collected from the garden and rice. You could see the interest of the different sounds and the joy of shaking and dropping them.

Splish Splash Water Play

With swimming on hold, it was important to give our Munchkin some time to splash about at home. So we filled the blow up duck he used to have his baths in, gave him some toys and away he went splashing about.

Wibble Wobble Jelly Play

Exactly what it says in the title. Jelly on a plate, wibbly and wobbly, with a few utensils, feeling it, bouncing it and tasting it. Good orange flavoured fun.

Make a Lentil Mess

We put some lentils in a bowl and let him go crazy. From the first unsure touch, to throwing them everywhere, it was a fun explosion of sensory fun.

Disco lights and lightning bolts

We set up a disco ball, a lightning plate, a rope light and a colouring changing stars on the ceiling toy and popped Munchkin in the middle. He loved touching the plate and making the lightning move, grasping onto the disco ball and wafting around the rope light.

Let’s cook

Finally, not fully a sensory exploration, but we gave Munchkin kitchen bits and some balls for a cooking experience. He’s had a saucepan ever since as his eyes immediately lit up and a smile filled his little face. He loved to play peek-a-boo with the colander!

It was easy to create sensory and discovery experiences from items already in our household. Hopefully this gives some inspiration for what you can do with your little ones in this tough time.

Thanks for reading,

Categories
Plastic Reducing plastic

Our Latest Plastic Free Promises

It has been a little while since I’ve made a plastic post, and while we may be all distracted by COVID-19, the environment is still suffering under a ton of plastic.

Last time I told you about our first swap outs. We removed cling film and freezer bags for reusable tubs, shopping bags for tote or bag for life alternatives and the ability to recycle more with Terracycle. Click here for that post and here for a Terrycycle walkthrough.

Since then we’ve made some more…

  1. Using reusable fruit and veg bags

Every supermarket now sells reusuable fruit and veg bags near (you guessed it!), the fruit and veg. This means we can pick loose again without using any plastic.

Reusable fruit and veg bag from Lidl
  1. Plastic free ‘shower gel’ and shampoo products from Kitenest (click here to visit them).

I intended on purchasing some of these and then kindly received some as a Christmas present (yay!). Their activated charcoal soap is a perfect replacement for shower gel leaving your skin smooth and smelling like the spa. I’ve also got a lemon shampoo bar but i’ve yet to try it out. Ill let you know when I have. Kitenest also do bamboo care products, reusable face wipes, plastic free dry shampoo and more. Kitenest.co.uk

  1. Replacing antibacterial wipes

Although this was forced to fall back to wipes due to the COVID madness, we had removed the use of antibacterial wipes for using an antibacterial spray and a cloth. This keeps the efficacy of the solution but with recyclable packaging (bottle traditionally recycled and spray nozzle with Terracycle).

  1. Biodegradable baby wipes

Since having a little munchkin, we have been keen to reduce the potentially huge plastic impact of such a tiny human. Wipes were next on the list, and thanks to cheap home-band wipes on the high street at Boots this was easy as pie.

  1. Recycling bread bags

Another bug bear of mine, I love bread and a lot of bread comes in bags. Luckily these are collected at supermarkets in the bag recycling bins. Along with bread bags are many other plastics including cereal liners, frozen food bags and bubble wrap. Read more here.

  1. Recycling baby food pouches (Ella’s kitchen only)

We’ve recently also switched baby foods to allow for more recycling. Terracycle and Ella’s kitchen created Ellacycle. This programme takes Ella’s baby food pouches and snack wrappers. Read about Ellacycle here. Now thats one less thing to worry about when changing nappies, running after a toddler who’s a very fast crawler and hoping you can still get whole milk during self-isolation…

As i said in my first plastic post. It’s not about changing everything, and it’s not about doing it overnight. It’s about changing bit by bit overtime. It all adds up and makes a difference.

Thanks for reading,

Subscribe for updates

Categories
Mental health Parent

Covid-19 Self-isolation and Staying Sane with a One Year Old.

When we came to self-isolate we knew this would be hard on Munchkin. His usual week changed suddenly. One moment it was nursery for three days and each Nanny covering one day each. At weekends we would see friends, or his Grandparents, Great Grandparents or his Auntie and Uncle. There would be a weekly swimming lesson and a weekly sensory and play group and then suddenly it all changes and you don’t know why.

It changes to just one day at nursery. But not normal nursery. The first day since the schools closed we arrived to just us in the car park and only two members of staff inside. Then for the rest, he just at home with us. Six days per week of just Mummy, or Mummy and Daddy, and they can’t really tell you why.

So what is important…

Routine. We decide for Munchkin’s, and our, sanity to create a new routine. One to keep things fresh and engaging but also to still differentiate between weekend and weekdays. So we made sure meal and snack times and types were set, and we would have slots for sensory play, reading time, play time and a walk.

And there is the next one, walks. Using the one time to get out of the house to go for a long walk. I realised the importance of getting out the house every day during SPL (shared parental leave) and know what it can do for your well being. Further to that, just getting some regular fresh air, outside those four walls in the garden, does a world of good.

Finally, its sharing the workload; the nappies and changes; the routine and the household normalities like the dinner and cleaning. Though I am sure most mothers will agree, sharing the workload should happen regardless of whether there is a pandemic or not!

I hope you stay sane during your self-isolation everyone.

Thanks for reading,

Sign up for email updates:

Categories
Christmas

A 'magical' first Christmas

Christmas for Munchkin really began early December when the tree entered the house. He’s always been mesmerised by nature and now there was a tree standing in his living room. Then came the shiny decorations, tinsel and most importantly, the lights. Woooah!

All the rest of the lights went up around the house and then you could tell he had an air of ‘I could certainly get used to this’ although in photos it could be seen as total fear.

The look of enjoyment of this Christmas thing… or was it a look of fear?

To continue the build up of magic, the week before Christmas me and Nanny took him to a garden centre. The look of his face as we saw the singing characters, the bright flashing trees and fake snow. He had no idea what was going on, but we knew he loved it.

The three day extravaganza (Christmas Eve to Boxing day) came around but then also did the joys of hand, foot and mouth for Munchkin. What a time for this! Not only were we worried about it ruining his first Christmas experience, we also had to live in fear about catching it ourselves!

The rosy cheeks of hand foot and mouth

On Christmas Eve we went to Auntie Nicole’s and Uncle James’. He had his first round of presents. Whilst cute to watch him open then, it took forever. But still ate like a champ considering the sores around his mouth.

Christmas Day was at Natalie’s parents. Whilst Munchkin felt a little more rough with his hand foot and mouth, and we felt rough with the alcohol and lack of sleep from a late night Christmas eve, we all powered through the mountains of food and hours of games and had a bloomin’ good day as expected.

We hosted boxing day. I pre-empted by thinking how tired I get when I don’t have a baby by boxing day so suggested we split the prep and cooking with my family. This was wise. By now, Munchkin was confused, what was this all about? More wrapped toys?!

By the end of day three and after three days of hand foot and mouth, we were all exhausted. Luckily we were all off work and nursery was yet to begin so had a good few days to recover.

Thanks for reading,

Categories
Development and discovery

The Next 2 Me to Nursery Transition

The time to move into his nursery and big boy cot, which could be feared by some, came at 9 and a half months old. This may seem late, but tied in nicely with the move from our Munchkin breast feeding in the evening and throughout night to purely bottle fed. A change which made us happy parents as this was the first solid week he also slept through the night. Phew. At last!!

We followed the advice on this one, moving the next 2 me slowly on a journey from bedside to his Nursery. Day by day, for a week (and a bit…).

It started by moving to the bottom of the bed with the side up and… this was a normal night 😌. We were worried, being sleep related and being knackered new parents, that any change would upset him. Thankfully it was all good so far.

Then moved closer to the door for two nights. Phew, we breathed a sigh of relief, still fine.

On day four it was the new room. You can imagine this being the biggest of changes. It probably has a different smell, different acoustics, and a different pattern the lights make on the ceiling. Some adults don’t like sleeping on holiday for these very reasons. It must be crazy for a baby at 9 and a half months.

Munchkins new cot in his woodland nursery.

We got through to 3 am in sweet slumber but at 4 am Munchkin woke. Half an hour of rocking though and he was back to sleep. This wasn’t anything we weren’t used to. And this is exactly all I thought was different…

Day 5 he went down at 7pm to wake at 8:40pm. ‘This is what he keeps doing’ I’m told. I was none the wiser. ‘He wakes, has a little moan for a bit then gets back to the land of nod’.

Well that’s news but its all good, apart from this time, he didn’t go back to the land of nod. We believed it was down to the demon of night poos! So after a change and little rock and all was sorted and he was sleeping again.
Sleeping again for a whole, maximum of, 10 minutes. So we rocked again and he slept. He woke again, we rocked, he slept again. This pattern continued until the final rock to sleep At 11pm. Exhausted we rocked him, went to bed ourselves and, luckily he slept through the rest of the night.

The next step was the big cot! This came on day 7 after a another reasonably rocky day 6. This made us nervous. Very nervous. Especially after the madness of days 5 and 6. But in this big cot, with lots of space to roll and wake, there was not a single peep!

The cuteness of a sleeping Munchkin.

And to this day he sleeps like an angel. We think he just teased us with a few bad nights 😝.

Hope the transition went/goes well for you when its time for your little one.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to sign up below if you want to know when I post 🙂

Categories
Preganancy

Twenty hours to parenting…

So Natalie returns from a long term at work ready for a half term rest, a week before the Munchkin or Munchkiness is due to arrive. We didn’t know what we were due to have as we wanted the surprise.

Whilst I’m still at work, Natalie has a week to prepare, pack the hospital essentials and get mentally prepared for pregnancy.

We returned from work to a normal Friday night (well, a normal Friday night with a wife pregnant at full term, that is) and we went to bed like any other weekend.

Saturday morning arrived. Natalie woke with some uncomfort, but then again when was pregnancy comfy…? We migrated downstairs, had brekky and relaxed on the sofa. The relatively NEW sofa I must add.

I look to Natalie ‘Being a new sofa, do you reckon we should grab a towel just incase’. ‘Nah, I’m sure nothing with happen today. We resume whatever Netflix series we were engrossed in at the time.

30 minutes later Natalie looks to me. It’s 10 am on the first day of half term. ‘Oh no!’….It’s too late to get a towel now as the sofa gets the full effect of her waters breaking. ‘This can’t start today! It’s too soon!’.

Let the madness begin. A quite coffee turns into a tirade of panic packing quickly deciding and gathering the last few bits for the birth bag.

10:15. Natalie moves to the bathroom. From what we had seen on TV, waters breaking looked like you’d spilt water down yourself or, at worst, wet yourself. This looked more like the Niagara Falls for a full hour.

At the same time Natalie rings the hospital. We get told this could be the start of a two day process and we should call back when the contractions begin.

11:15 The waters stop and the contractions begin. We ring. ‘Call back when they are 5 minutes apart’.

11:30 The contractions are 5 apart. ‘We understand you want to leave now but relax and call back when the contractions are 2 minutes apart.

11:39 Natalie can no longer speak because of the contractions. I ring but they insist to speak to her. She wants to push and just about gets that across. Get in the car NOW!!

12:00 We leave. Usually the commute to the hospital would take 25 minutes maximum. Not today. Today they are cutting some bushes so there are traffic lights. Today it takes 45 minutes.

12:45 We arrive at the hospital and begin a slow walk up to the sauna that is the delivery suite. We wait then get taken to the triage ward. The nurse gets Natalie on the bed and then the phone rings and she pops off.

Natalie asks me to take a look. I can already see Munchkin’s little head popping out. The nurse is still on the phone. I jump out of the curtain and begin the ‘I really need you to see this’ dance until she responds.

The nurse follows me back in. The alarms go off. One push, the head is out, push two. You’ve had a boy!

13:22. On the first day of half term, one week early, Munchkin arrives. In the triage ward. To two totally shocked and mentally unprepared new parents.And that, was the fastest morning of my life.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin.

Subscribe…

Categories
Preganancy

Nine Months of Preparation and a fair bit of Panic

You watch the adverts and films where discovering that your wife is pregnant is magical. Well, that’s what I expected too. It turns out being woken at 6am as Natalie does an unplanned test isn’t so sensational. It was hard to comprehend what she was actually telling me in that 6am slumber, let alone feel a tiny bit of the extreme excitement that I would when even when just a little more alive.

Luckily, as a scientist, I convinced us that it was likely a false positive and that one test was not a significant result. We purchased another few tests to increase the sample size, or ‘n‘ (science joke 🤭), and consequently increase the statistical significance of the positive result. In doing so, we also got to have our magical moment back when it was confirmed with three more ‘is it? Or isn’t it?’ blue lines and one more certain, digital display. The digital display also gave us a good indication of when the nine month countdown began, instantly deducting two weeks, and so the eight a half month timer started ticking.

Eight and a half months. That’s a long time isn’t it? Surely….?

Nope. Welcome to what could only be described as time travel. With Natalie being a teacher, she works by terms too. By teacher maths, eight and a half months can simply be divided down to just two terms and summer. And that just seems to make the time fly faster.

Natalie wasn’t ever a big drinker so we thought we could keep the surprise until after the first scan, tell the family and then the rest. Oh, but then there’s that wedding!, oh and that cider and sausage party, and that BBQ…! With my Mum being a nurse it also limited the excuses somewhat. If we said antibiotics she would enquire what was wrong, and if she was driving she could just have one glass…?

So while the eight and a half months flew, those first 12 weeks were the slowest of the lot. Finally the day came, the surprise was revealed in an explosion of confetti and we could relax. Relax as much as we could knowing we needed to acquire all the baby clothes, nappies, a cot, a pushchair, a travel system and all the rest…

The reveal with Nanny F
The reveal with Nanny I, and Auntie and Uncle S

‘Relax’ also knowing that while the week 12 scan confirms you are to become a parent, it also signifies the start of the next eight weeks of worry while you wait for the week 20, more detailed, head to toe, inside and out scan to know you’re having a healthy baby.

It wasn’t long, like every year before it was Christmas 🎅 and then it was just two months till we met our Munchkin.

Bump’s first Christmas

Natalie planned to work up to half term, which was a week before her due date, have a week of relaxation, packing and planning and then expected deliver late.

On the Friday she came home put her feet up and relaxed.

Relaxed, knowing she had a week to pack and get prepared.

Relaxed, knowing she had a week to herself.

Relaxed, blissfully unaware that at 1.40pm the very next day there would be an early arrival….

Thanks for reading.

To be continued…. in a future post.

Subscribe for more

Categories
Development and discovery

Munchkin’s firsts from the first first he conquered.

From birth to 9 months, this post is there to celebrate all the firsts our Munchkin has conquered so far with lots of piccies. But by no means make any comparisons as every baby develops at their own rate 😊.

Month one

After five long days in the post-natal ward following the arrival of our Munchkin was the first trip home.

Home time!

Then only a mere two days later he attended his first party, my cousins 30th!

To top off the month and athough against the advice, he went on his first shopping trip at week 2.

Month two

March was time for Munchkins first photo shoot.

Month Three

Then attended his first wedding.

Which was such a lovely wedding we did our first smile (though not necessarily the cause).

and had our first swim or rather our first float…

Month Four

We visited our first National Trust property. Something we hope our Munchkin will love in the future.

We went to meet the Wifey’s extended family and had our first trip to a very windy beach!

We had our first family holiday at Center Parcs in which we had our first swimming lesson. Munchkin slept a lot here!

Month Five

Month five had my first daddy thing, my first fathers day 😍

Month Six

We gawped and gasped at our first Sea Life Centre visit, as a turtle swam above us.

The first day of Daddy looking after Munchkin on shared parental leave happened. There was no time for photos on that day unsurpisingly!

Month Seven

We had our first taste of solid food with our first teeth!

Month 8

We celebrate our eight months by becoming the first UK rep place for The Trendy Tyke.

And to finish it all off he has his second photo shoot. Mummy and Daddy then compare this to the first shoot and marvel at how fast time has passed.

Phew!

Thats all the firsts with first photos. We now look forward to the future firsts! (I thought I’d keep the alliteration.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin